tv CNN Newsroom With Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto CNN March 17, 2021 7:00am-8:00am PDT
top of the hour. good morning. i'm poppy harlow. >> i'm jim sciutto. minutes from now atlanta police will hold a press conference with updates after eight people were killed in three separate shootings as message parlors. local reports indicate that six of the victims were asian. a 21-year-old suspect is in
custody. there's a picture there. right now the motive is unknown. it is unclear if the attacks were racially motivated. but we should know police are ramping up security in asian-american communities as a precaution. president biden has been briefed on the shootings, and at this hour he returns to the white house. we'll bring you any live comments. also today, concerns of another covid surge. cases are climbing in more than one dozen states. the cdc is sounding the alarm on two variants in california. we'll get to that in a moment. let's begin on this tragic shooting spree. our ryan young joins us this morning in atlanta. what do you know about the victims, eight total, six of them asian. what can you tell us? >> reporter: so far, very little information is coming out about the victims except, besides their races. of course, what we've been told so far is at least six of the people killed are asian. of course, we're trying to move forward with parts of this
investigation. we do know in the next half hour or so police are expected to have a news conference. this will be the first one they'll have jointly with the jurisdictions involved in this. you've got to realize, this happened in several different areas. we do basically have cherokee county sheriff's department and the atlanta police department involved. if you look behind me, that's one of the spas they focused on. they arrested 21-year-old robert long. he was taken into custody after police were able to get out some of the pertinent information yesterday shortly after the shooting about the car he was driving and what he looked like. georgia state patrol troopers were able to perform a pit maneuver during a chase and take him into custody. all the questions center around the motive. people want to know exactly why this happened. what we're hoping is police are able to give us an indication about what they've been able to learn from the suspect. we're trying to figure out whether or not there will be a first court appearance today or tomorrow.
that's something we hope to learn in the press conference. in the next half hour, hopefully we'll get more from investigators. we new from last night, one of the reasons they've been slow walking some of this notification about who was killed is they needed to tell the family members who obviously lost loved ones. it's got to be a tough time for them, to find out z their loved ones were killed in these separate shootings. we think that notification process has happened. maybe today we'll learn more about the victims. we talked to someone who worked in a business nearby and say all the women who were killed were customers of theirs and they felt really horrible about the fact that they were at work and could hear the gunshots in the distance and didn't have any clue about what it was and figured out that friends of theirs, who had come to this business for years, had been killed yesterday. there was a lot of conversation about who has been killed and what will be next. once again, that news conference should start within the next 35 minutes or so. we'll get hopefully more details from investigators as they work on this case. >> a devastating act of
violence. ryan young, thanks very much. let's speak more about the investigation going forward with cnn correspondent and former fbi supervisory special agent josh campbell. josh, it's good to have you on, because you have direct experience of investigations into crimes like this, and it's early. you clearly have a pattern here. six of the sick tims were asian-american, took place at these massage parlors. it's early in the investigation. what do police look for right now as they're investigating this, from social media, past statements, et cetera? what are they looking for right now? >> jim, they're going to, what they call, circle this target. they're going to learn everything about this id have's life, from his digital footprint, a window into one's thinking. they'll interview his associates, family members and the like. they'll interview him. this is one incident where you have a shooter who is in custody. we know in past incidents, sometimes the shooter dies, sometimes the shooter takes his or her own life. here we have a state trooper
that was bravely able to bring that suspect's vehicle to a stop and authorities have him. the question will be does he cooperate? we have seen in some instances, where especially if this ends up being a hate crime, which appears -- you look at all the victims here, the commonalities. it appears that could be the case. sometimes you have people with those deranged beliefs who are proud of what they do. so he may readily admit to authorities what his motivation was, since authorities have him in custody, there's no reason for them to come out and provide any information that gets ahead of their investigation. this isn't a manhunt. they have him. i suspect we'll be relying on our reporting and sources to get information. i don't think we'll hear authorities come out and say in the short term what that motivation was. >> josh, do they need him to say what his motivation was in order to call it a hate crime? what's the bar? i mean, if i'm an asian-american a watching this this morning, i see a clear pattern here.
>> absolutely. i think we all see that clear pattern. this just goes to show this kind of hatred against the asian-american, pacific islander community that we've been talking about for well over a year now, that they continue to be targeted in many different ways. if it ends up this was the actual motivation, such a very serious and sad, obviously, occurrence, that shows that this problem is out here. you question about the motivation and whether he needs to say it, the authorities always want the confession, they always want someone to articulate why they did what they did, but they don't need that. if he clams up, if he doesn't talk, they can look at other ways, writings and communications. this will be interesting to see as we compare this administration to the last administration, how the justice department, whether they actually intervene. it doesn't appear at this point that there would be any type of federal nexus. we know the fbi was assisting with the investigation. now with the civil rights division at the justice department, the biden
administration has said this is something they are going to work on, obviously, to try to stop hate crimes and stop racially targeted violence in this country. whether we see the federal government jumping in here and actually asserting a role to say, look, these kind of crimes need to stop, that will be something to watch. >> thank you, josh, very much. good to have you. tragic story. minutes from now president biden is expected to arrive back at the white house after attending a st. patrick's day mass near his family's home in delaware. >> he is irish after all. the president is now facing major kcrises on more than one front. of course, the coronavirus pandemic as well as a growing surge at the southern border and a question now about the timing of when to pull troops out of afghanistan. joining us now, cnn's john harwood at the white house. certainly a lot on the president's plate this morning. do we expect immediate decisions on any of these issues? >> no, we don't.
on afghanistan in particular, he's looking to take more time. this is an incredibly tough problem, as you know, jim. the longest war in american history, going on 20 years. of course, initiated after 9/11 because of the taliban's control and their cooperation with al qaeda. everyone in both parties wants what they've come to call the forever war to be brought to a close. on the other hand, you don't want to have a return to the situation that caused the war to start in the first place, a return to power by the taliban and afghanistan becoming a launching pad for terrorism. president biden facing this may 1 deadline for withdrawal of troops that was set by former president trump, leaning on two different arguments for why he wants more time. one is he says the agreement that president trump negotiated was not all that solid. and secondly, he's saying trump's behavior after the election made it more difficult
for him to get out of the blocks fast on this issue. take a listen. >> the failure to have an orderly transition from the trump presidency to my presidency, which usually takes place from election day to the time he's sworn in, has cost me time and consequences. that's one of the issues we're talking about now in terms of afghanistan. >> reporter: of course, the irony is that vice president -- joe biden as vice president for president obama was one of the ones very skeptical for arguments of surging troops there to try to stabilize that situation early in the obama administration. eventually president obama came around to his view of a more minimalist presence of u.s. troops. the question now is whether joe biden himself decides that it is unwise to complete the job by taking all those troops back because the consequences that
would occur. he's engaging u.s. allies in trying to work this out. he clearly wants a little more time than is on the clock right now to deal with the issue. >> but biden, historically skeptical of long-term troop commitments in the middle east. john howard, thanks very much. the cdc is calling two new coronavirus variants discovered in california variants of concern. they're about 20% more transmissible. the cdc says some treatments could be less effective, but the signs on the vaccines, and this is important, is much better in terms of their effectiveness against these variants. >> this comes as more than a dozen states have seen at least a 10% increase in new cases of covid over the last week. our chief medical correspondent dr. sanjay gupta is with us this morning. good morning, sanjay. we're glad you're here. jim makes such a great point. i'm glad he's emphasizing this. i want you to reemphasize it for our viewers.
it's not great to see new variants, horrible to see an increase in cases. there's no evidence that the three authorized vaccines currently used in the u.s., don't protect against them, right? >> yeah, that's right. that's a critical point. just languagewise as people follow this, variants of concern are something we'll probably hear a lot of. none of these variants, these two from california, none of them rise to what they call variants of highest consequence. the way it would get that designation is if there is the appearance that it's starting to escape vaccine immunity. we don't see that. they still work really well in terms of hospitalizations and deaths, preventing those. >> sanjay, i'm a little confused personally as a consumer of this news, and we're talking about it every day on the air, the significance of variants. it's natural for these viruses to mutate and develop new variants. but the vaccine so far showing
themselves to still work. then you have interesting data like in south africa, one of the sources of these variants, has seen a dig drop-off in infections as kind of home base to the variant. are we exaggerating the importance or the danger of these? how should people absorb this is really my question. >> first of all, i think it's important to point out with south africa, what's interesting is the vaccination rates are still quite low, and yet they've had the significant drop-off. that speaks to something that is a more fundamental point, which is the basic public health strategies do work, variant or no variant. they may be more transmissible, but masks, physical distancing, things like that still work. are we making too big a deal about this? it's a fair question, jim. we are monitoring things very closely. our antennas are really high. i think that's part of what we're seeing with astrazeneca in
europe. we're evaluating it and saying, okay, this isn't a big deal. we have to monitor the variants. the concern is if one mutates enough to escape the protective effects of the vaccines. if you think of the flu virus even, part of the reason we get a new flu shot every year because there's enough strains out there that we have to continuously inoculate people. >> it's sad, but there's now a divide politically among people willing or not willing to get the vaccine. i think 46% of republicans say they don't want it. at least now president trump is saying you should get it. he could have done more on that front. here is what president biden side last night. >> i honest to god thought we had it out. i honest to god thought once we guaranteed we had enough vaccine for everybody, things would start to calm down. wemple, they have calmed down a great deal, but i just don't
understand this match cho thing about i'm not going to get the vaccine, i have a right as an american, my freedom to not do it. why not be a patriot and protect other people? >> is there anything more the administration can do, sanjay, to convince those folks? >> i just got to say, it's interesting. i feel like this last year so head down in covid, learning about the virus, the transmission, all these types of things. this issue that president biden is talking about is not a new issue. it's always been perplexing to me. we struggle so hard to create these vaccines, and it's this amazing science and it can rescue us. then we get there, people are like, yeah, take it or leave it. we see the same thing with the flu vaccine. half of american adults in any given year get the flu vaccine which is one of those things. what can people do? historically what we've learned is it does help when leaders come out and say they endorse the vaccine, but it's typically
people's primary doctors and pharmacists who end up being the biggest predictors. if they're on board and counseling their patients, they're the biggest influencers overall in terms of not only addressing vaccine hesitancy or vaccine fade. i'm not worried about it, i just don't think i need it. that's what you're laerg a lot. >> that's the wgreat way to describe it. sanjay, thank you. >> thank you. right now homeland security secretary is on capitol hill. house lawmakers are asking a lot of key questions about the surge of migrants at the southern border, especially unaccompanied children in u.s. custody right now. fighting over the filibuster. president biden now suggesting he would support reform to what has become a truly powerful senate rule. will enough senators back that idea? what does it mean for his legislative priorities? at the bottom of the hour, we're expecting a briefing from the atlanta police department on
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why were they dismissed? >> reporter: we were just talking a few minutes ago. judge peter cahill was beginning to requestion the seven jurors selected to see if news of that record civil settlement paid to the george floyd family, to see if these jurors heard the news about it and whether it impacted their ability to be fair and i'm martial. the judge here decided that two of them were no longer able to be fair and impartial in this case. it speaks to the concerns that defense attorneys for derek chauvin had about the timing and the magnitude of it, that it would be difficult to avoid especially here in the minneapolis area. it's why they asked for a delay in the striel. we know the judge has been considering that up to this point. he now says he's going to make a decision this friday on whether we can continue with this trial as is. he's going to use the questioning of the prospective
jurors continuing today and into tomorrow as well as data for whether this can continue as it is. jim, poppy. >> significant development. you can imagine public reaction to a prolonged delay. omar jimenez on the story, thanks very much. dhs secretary alejandro mayorkas is facing a grilling on capitol hill, facing questions about the crisis at the southern border, the surge there, the growing number in particular of unaccompanied children now being held for days after they cross. >> our priscilla alvarez is joining us. you've been to the border so many times covering this, especially the most recent surge. what is the most important question for the secretary to answer today? >> reporter: the top democrat and the top republican have already spoken this morning. they are expressing concern about how do they handle the situation on the border. mayorkas has called this an historic and unprecedented
challenge, he has said, record number of children crossing the border. the question we expect to hear is how are they handling it and how do we move forward from here. >> you also have new reporting on the conditions in these facilities for children. the numbers are increasingly off the charts. conditions were a key issue in the trump administration. of course, one of those policies biden reversed which is deliberate family separation. what are you learning? >> reporter: we're starting to get a glimpse of what these conditiontion look like no these border patrol facilities. children are alternating sleeping schedules to try to get some rest. they're showering every few days. border patrol agents are putting out bunk beds and plastic cots and mats. these are border patrol facilities, jail-like facilities that have concrete walls and concrete benches. this is not where children are supposed to spend prolonged periods of time. that is what is happening
because the administration is running low on slel ter capacity because of precautions put in place over the course of the past year for the coronavirus pandemic. that's the south koreaable happening behind the scenes, trying to get these kids out of these border patrol facilities where, again, they're in crowded conditions. >> we're talking about 13,000 total between hhs and border patrol being held, of children, many of them unaccompanied. you just described some of the conditions, jail-like. but we haven't been allowed inside. our rosa florez sitting outside one of the facilities yesterday telling us despite multiple requests, the administration will not let them in. where's the transparency? >> like you said, we are asking for access. both of the border patrol facilities and the shelters run by the health and human services department which do look different. they're designed to care for children. those requests have been put into the administration but we have not gn granted access as of
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time. >> i don't think you have to eliminate the filibuster. a filibuster, you have to stand up and command the floor. once you start talking, you lost that and someone can move in and say i move the question of. so you've got to work for the filibuster. >> this comes as republican senate minority leader mitch mcconnell is warning that if the senate filibuster were to be eliminated, the chamber would come to a grinding halt. in some ways it already has, frankly. he also warned that republicans will quickly move the next time that they take control of the congress to pass legislation that democrats oppose. things he mentioned include defunding planned parenthood and defunding sanctuary cities.
okay. i'm told we're going to a press conference in atlanta. the mayor of atlanta, keisha lance bottoms speaking about these eight killings yesterday. >> -- who were killed and injured yesterday. i can't say enough about the seamless coordination of law enforcement, many of whom you will hear from this morning. we had joining us chief rodney bryant from the atlanta police department, deputy chief charles hampton from the atlanta police department, lieutenant mark riley from the georgia state president, captain jay baker from cherokee county sheriff's office, fbi special agent in charge charles hacker, kirk i irkskin from the northern district of georgia. you won't hear from all of them, but will hear from some of them this morning to provide
additional details. yesterday was a tragic day across our state. as many of you all know, there were several victims who were tragically killed yesterday. our thoughts and prayers remain with those families. whether it's senseless violence we've seen play out in our streets or more targeted violence like we saw yesterday, a crime against any community is a crime against us all. i've been in contact with the white house. i spoke with someone last night and again this morning. of course, president biden offers his full support and concern to our great state, and the white house has offered to support us with any additional resources and support we need as we continue, not just this investigation, but as we continue to deal with the spike in crime that we have seen since
this pandemic began. again, the coordination of law enforcement was spectacular on yesterday. this was a tragic day with many victims, but thankfully, the suspect was quickly apprehended. as i was talking with special agent in charge chief hacker as we were coming in, he was sharing he's not had better coordination with the atlanta police department than he has had as of late. and certainly we thank the state patrol, cherokee county and i believe it was chris county where the suspect was apprehended, and all of our partners and stakeholders throughout the state who assisted with the apprehension of this suspect. i will now turn it over to chief
bryant to share additional information, and we will hear from our other law enforcement representatives to share details on what happened yesterday and where we stand today. >> thank you, madam mayor. we will present in the order -- in a chronological order so we can better inform you on how things played out. so we'll start off with sheriff from cherokee county and then it will go to me. we both have our investigator leads that can go into more details as a result of what happened and what transpired through the investigation. i think that it's important that we first acknowledge the fact -- i know many -- we've received a number of calls about is this a hate crime. we are still early in this investigation, so we cannot make that determination at this
moment. again, we are very early in this investigation. even though we've made an arrest, there's still a lot more work to be done. so with that being said, i wanted to make sure -- i know that's going to be a concern and that you are probably asking that of many of us. we are just not there as of yet. thank you all and we'll start with sheriff reynolds, cherokee county. >> thank you, chief. thank you mayor bottoms. so we got a call about 4:55 yesterday afternoon of a shooting in the 92 area of southwest cherokee county. our deputies responded and found multiple gunshot victims. we were able to quickly identify a potential subject from video footage. captain jay baker is with me and
will be able to answer questions as well. we were able to put that out on our social media shortly thereafter we were contacted by members of the family indicating that that may be their son. so we met with them. i was there speaking with the family. they're very distraught, and they were very helpful in this apprehension. we were able to track his phone. sheriff billy hancock from crisp county is a good friend of mine. i reached out to him, anticipating the movement. he was able to coordinate with the georgia state patrol and set up a position to intercept our suspect. that's precisely what they did, a coordinated effort. sheriff hancock coordinated with the georgia state patrol to
quickly pit the vehicle in order to prevent a pursuit. i'd like to echo the mayor and the chief in that it was a lot of collaboration between our police departments, sheriff's office and the fbi. the fbi has been fantastic. anything we needed, they were there throughout the night, and our community. we're mostly a bedroom community. i think last year we had one murder. we don't have a lot of crime in that area. so this is a shock to all of us. captain, am i missing anything? we did interview him last night. he's currently at the cherokee county adult detention center. we were able to interview him with the atlanta police department and the fbi. he made indicators that he has some issues, potentially sexual
addiction and may have frequented some of these places in the past, but as a chief indicated, it's still early on. we still have a lot of things to process. so he should be at an arraignment tomorrow at some time early morning to late morning, and we will keep you up to date. we have a press release that captain baker has put together available to our media folks. if you don't have that, i think we have some printed copies that he'll be happy to get to you. i'm happy to answer any questions you may have at the moment. >> are you saying -- you talked to the suspect, you said he had a sexual addiction. i'm sure you asked him was this racially motivated. was this racially motivated? >> as the chief indicated, it's still early, but the indicators right now are it may not be. it may be targets of opportunity. again, we believe that he frequented these places in the
past and may have been lashing out, and part of that is in your media packet as well. >> the working theory is a sexual addiction issue rather than a racial profile? >> during our interviews we asked that specific question, and that did not appear to be the motive -- >> -- let him get through the press conference and then we'll answer any questions. >> thank you, ma'am. i'll turn it over to the next person. >> so on yesterday at 5:47, our units responded to 1916 piedmont road on a robbery call. upon arrival, they discovered three females shot inside this location. while investigating that location, they received another call at 1907 piedmont road where they found another female shot
inside that location. both locations were massage par parlors. at that time we realized we had information previously put out by cherokee county of a similar incident in their jurisdiction. immediately the sheriff and i and the chief in that jurisdiction started having conversations trying to bring things together. as we stated earlier, the collaboration between the different, the local and state partners, we immediately started having conversations to coordinate our efforts to determine who our individual -- the subject we were looking for. i would be remiss if i didn't acknowledge the quick response of the sheriff's department identifying -- getting their photo and putting that picture out so we could get a quicker
response in identifying the person that was the suspect in this type of incident. once we were able to get our information and gather our information, coordinate with cherokee county, we immediately put that out metrowide with our federal, state and local partners. all immediately asked what could they do. all resources immediately started getting involved so we could bring this to a quick closure. from that, i'll turn it over to georgia state patrol who concluded with the arrest. >> good morning. yesterday afternoon after the two incidents occurred here in fulton and cherokee counties, there was a lookout put out, also intel given. our gema and homeland security
liaison sent out emails, letting us know a potential area where the suspect's vehicle may be. the sheriff of cherokee county reached out to his partner in crisp county, and we had a trooper monitoring traffic on i-75 south. the trooper observed the suspect's vehicle traveling south. he started following the vehicle and waited for backup which included two other georgia state troopers as well as the sheriff of chris county and some of his deputies. they initiated a traffic stop and immediately pitted the vehicle. after the vehicle was pitted, the suspect was taken into custody without further incident and transported to the chris county jail. >> i believe captain baker determined that the suspect was on his way to florida, i be
believe, perhaps to carry out additional shootings. again, it really speaks to the coordination and the quick response from law enforcement, for as tragic as this was on yesterday in metro atlanta, this could have been a significantly worse -- again, i can't express enough my gratitude for the coordination and the public as a whole should be grateful that this suspect was quickly apprehended because it is very likely that there would have been more victims on yesterday. >> can you explain a little more about the locations that were targeted? the sheriff mentioned a sexual addiction. were there places where someone could having sexual encounters or more traditional spa-like -- >> we are not about to get into victim blaming, victim shaming
here. as far as we know in atlanta, we have not had any calls, 911 calls from that location. i believe one minor call on someone stealing some keys. so we don't know additional information about what his motives were, but we certainly will not begin to blame victims. as far as we know in atlanta, these are legally operating businesses that have not been on our radar, not on the radar of apd. >> -- the surviving victim that was shot outside of the store, can someone talk to us about that? >> that's a question for our cherokee partners. >> thank you. i'm captain jay baker. that victim is stable. he's in stable condition at the hospital in marietta. >> was he caught in the crossfire? >> by the way, i agree with the
mayor, we're not going to do any victim shaping. we're not sure what his presence was there, and the other people killed at the location, we're not going to say whether they were employees or there by happenstance. we don't want to go into that. we'll give you names when this is over with. >> is that the only survivor? >> that is the only survivor. we had four killed and one survive. >> -- suspect was perhaps upset at these locations for allowing him to have an outlet for his addiction -- >> let me go into a little detail. the suspect did take responsibility for the shootings. he said that early on once we began interviews with him. he claims that these -- as the chief said, this is still early, but he does claim it was not racially motivated. he apparently has an issue, what he considers a sex addiction and sees these locations as something that allows him to go to these places and it's a
temptation for him this he wanted to eliminate. like i said, it's still early on. those were comments that he made. >> did you discuss any kind of religious motivation for this, or was he -- >> not that i'm aware of. >> or political? >> none political. i've heard nothing about politics. >> any sense of his social media history? >> that's something that investigators, they've been working on it. >> did you have a sense that he understood the gravity of what he did? >> when i spoke with investigators, they interviewed him this morning, they got the impression that, yes, he understood the gravity of it, and he was pretty much fed up and had been at the end of his rope, and yesterday was a really bad day for him and this is what he did. >> remorseful? >> i'm not going to -- i don't know if he was remorseful or not. >> he's a pretty young guy. was he a student, live with his parents? >> 21 years of age. it's my understanding he does not live with his parents.
that location. >> did you say earlier that in interviewing the suspect, he said it was not racially motivated? >> he did make that claim. >> despite there not being a racial motivation, there has been a very real set of anti-asian hate attacks across the country. we heard from new york city police they're sernding resources to their asian communities across the city. for any of the law enforcement partners here, is there anything similar as far as strategy in extra support for either the asian-american communities in metro atlanta or similar businesses like massage parlors. >> you may speak to that. >> obviously, whatever the motivation was for this guy, we know that many of the victims, the majority of the victims were asian. we also know that this is an issue that's happening across the country. it is unacceptable. it is hateful, and it has to
stop. that being said, we are coordinating in realtime to make sure that our communities have the resources that they need. we have not seen a significant uptick in formal complaints within the city of atlanta, but obviously this is a large metropolitan region, and we know that we're hearing the stories. we're seeing them on television, seeing them on social media. so we certainly are aware, and we stand ready to provide any additional resources. but again, because of the quick coordination -- i was on my way home from city hall last night when i received the alert that there was a business shooting on piedmont road. i immediately called chief bryant who had already been in touch with cherokee county, and they were already making the connection. so we had a very rapid response,
but certainly we will continue to be proactive and provide resources to the extent that we can to make sure that our communities are protected. and, again, encouraging anyone -- we know many of our communities are sometimes hesitant to bring in law enforcement. if there are things and concerns that are happening in our communities, around your businesses, et cetera, there's nothing too big or too small. we want to be aware of it all to make sure we can provide resources and respond accordingly. >> [ inaudible question ]. were they all legally obtained weapons? >> i can tell you a 9 millimeter firearm was located in his vehicle when he was taken into custody. whether it was legally obtained will be one of the things our investigators will look into it. just to be clear, our victims,
two of our victims were white. we had two asians and two whites killed at our location. >> was it employees? >> that's one of the things we won't go into detail. >> the 9 millimeter -- >> we'll have to do forensics on the firearm, but we or confident it is. >> it was the only weapon? >> yes. no other weapons were located in the vehicle. >> do you have a sense of how many times he shot, how much ammunition? >> i don't have that information. >> is there any reason to believe that other similar businesses should still be concerned today? is there still a threat? >> in my opinion, this there's no indication anyone was working with him. >> you said he was on his way to florida where, i believe the mayor said, he would have engaged in similar acts of violence against similar businesses. >> he made a comment to that effect, that he was headed to florida and he was going to do similar acts in that state.
>> -- he wanted to destroy what had been tempting him? >> it sounds to me like these locations, he sees them as an outlet for him, something he shouldn't be doing, he has an issue with porn and he was attempting to take out that temptation. >> two more questions. >> he had visited both of those locations? >> i'm unaware if he had been to those specific locations. one more. >> what was the conversation like with the family, is there anything you can share with us? >> i don't want to go into details other than to say we're really appreciative of the family. without them, this would not have happened as quickly as it happened. they were very supportive and certainly this is difficult for them. >> did he resist at all? >> no, he did not resist. >> thank you. >> thank you. just heard an update there from atlanta police, cherokee county sheriff's office as well
as the mayor of atlanta on the shootings in atlanta last night. major headlines there, at least from the police. they caution, it is still too early to definitively determine motive. they say in an interview with the suspect, he claims this was an issue of taking out places of temptation, that's how he described it. they are saying at this point, indications that it may not be racially motivated. also saying he was on his way to florida perhaps to carry out more killings. we have our josh campbell with us to help us digest this. also find it notable, josh, that they say the suspect's family was essential in helping police track them down. that becomes more important. it appears he was on his way to commit more violence. >> i think it's worth noting, jim, just an incredible job by law enforcement quickly coordinating with each other. obviously a tragedy, but we have to note just what took place. you had a suspect moving across
multiple jurisdictions. you had law enforcement coordinating with each other. as you mentioned, the family, after law enforcement put out that image, the family contacted the authorities. they were able to track the suspect's phone. folks may not know, in an emergency situation, law enforcement can go to a provider and ask for realtime information in order to stop an existing threat. all of that takes incredible coordination. as you mentioned, we heard from authorities that he may have continued on to the state of florida to commit more violence which was thankfully stopped there. we talked about the motivation there for a moment, that the suspect said it was not racially motivated, that perhaps it had to do with some sexual addiction and he was trying to take out what he thought was the cause of that. it's worth noting that authorities aren't going to take his word and will continue to dig into his past. it's worth noting that the fbi not only helped with trying to locate him, but is also part of the interviews which tells me
there's a parallel investigation under way. at this point that would almost certainly focus on a hate crime. although he's saying not a hate crime, authorities will do due diligence to make sure there wasn't anything in his past targeting asian-american. >> josh, even if it were not racially motivated, as the suspect says, these are still women who were targeted. >> absolutely. it gets into the level of depravity that someone -- he may admit he has issues, but that makes it no less, obviously, significant for authorities, not only to try to investigate that case, but they also, as we do and every time we cover one of these shootings, they want to learn as much as they can to stop the next one. they want to figure out what was going on there, what was motivating him. it's worth pointing out, this obviously becomes political very quickly any time there's a shooting. it shows how numb we have become
to gun violence in this country because the idea about what type of wemple upon was used is an afterthought. here authorities say they found a 9 millimeter pistol inside the vehicle, no indication of any other weapon found. there are questions about how he got that weapon that authorities need to answer. was it obtained illegally? could the background checks that are being discussed nationally, could that have revented him from obtaining this weapon. folks say that's too soon. i say that's nonsense. we continue to cover these shootings and folks just move on. it's obviously a key part of it. >> you've been involved in investigations as an fbi supervisory agent. that timeline, particularly since it's their belief he intended to act again, go to florida, kill more people, seems to be his intention. that timeline is swift, is it not, to bring a suspect in? >> incredible. that coordination by law enforcement, and obviously much of the credit goes to the family
for seeing that social media post and quickly contacting authorities to provide that information. think about all the moving parts from getting that image out quickly which the police did to then blasting that out to neighboring jurisdictions, to the state police, the state troopers there on the freeway, the one who bravely saw the suspect and brought his vehicle to a halt. again, just the prevention that they were able to prevent, the additional violence, i think we just can't overstate. the idea that this suspect was then moving on to another place to try to commit more violence that authorities were able to prevent is simply incredible. think about, had one or more of those moving pieces not happened the way they did, the suspect could have moved outside the state. it's unclear how far law enforcement will be looking in their orbit to try to identify him, whether they would look nationally. i think a lot of additional violence was probably prevented by that swift action by law
enforcement. >> no question. >> josh campbell, thank you for all that analysis. you made critical points. we'll stay on this breaking news after eight people were killed overnight in atlanta. thanks for being with us. we're see you tomorrow morning. i'm poppy harlow. i'm poppy harlow. >> i'm jim sciutto. "newsroom" bolduan after a short break.a mt creamier. s
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